We’ve Got Mail!

Oops! Correction: This month we heard from at least six readers about the substitution of Prostrate for Prostate in the articleon the cancer of the same name. All I can say is that it’s a perfect example of seeing what we expect to see since at least four people read that article before printing! Thanks to all you readers who noticed (glad to know you’re reading carefully) and my sincere apologies to the people interviewed in the piece and to our readers.

And now for a continuation of the conversation about Jeanne Charters’ comments in her column in the January issue: she chose to characterize her breast cancer as female because “I don’t think men are capable of such sneakiness.”

Jeanne Responds: Censorship is dangerous. America is the land of free speech and must remain so to retain her authenticity.

As to calling women “sneakier” than men, I do believe women are smarter and more capable of deviousness than our beloved brothers.

I base this OPINION on the experience of rearing four daughters into successful, empathetic women who, as children, were sneaky as hell.

We are both entitled to our opinions, Ms. Duckett. That’s because we’re lucky enough to be female and living in this nation.

I stand by my words.

Jeanne Charters

Here’s another take on the topic from one of our readers.

Sandi, I think “political correctness” has been carried to ridiculous extremes.

Whatever happened to the right of free speech??

Threatening to no longer read a publication or patronize any of the advertisers, because of one sentence they objected to, seems to me ridiculousness in the extreme.

When somebody says something we don’t agree with, we have a right to say so (only in a respectful way), but we don’t have the right to try to censor them.

Darlene Wright

Another reader’s view of the column.

Hello, I live in Rochester NY. Jeanne Charters’ recent contribution to your online magazine was a hit here in Rochester. I printed it for several of my friends who had the procedures Jeanne wrote about. They cried, they laughed and said that it was the MOST positive article about their experiences that they have read.

Thank you
Linda Parker

Another devoted reader chimes in.

Dear Sandi,

I am a devoted reader and fan of WNCWoman. I feel that the recent criticism of Jeanne Charters’ editorial, which related her cancer to a female entity, was absurd. After all, it was hers, so why should she not describe it as she experienced it? I think she intended sneakiness as a feminine asset (with which I agree). I admire you for not censoring the words of your contributing writers in this hypersensitive world. Thanks for keeping it real.

Eva Scruggs

Editor’s Note: If you want to read even more of the conversation about this issue, check out Facebook/WNC Woman! And please contribute your own thoughts on sexism, the use of language, censorship, and more!


And on a different subject.


RE: January 2013 article: Friendship’s Facade Noor Siddiqui reports that onthe bus, after a volleyball game, Bully Girl, without provocation, repeatedly punched her arm. She appealed to Coach Pittman who sneered, “So hit her back. Why are you telling me? Hit. Her. Back.” Following his advice resulted in a punch that slammed Ms. Siddiqui into the seat barrier. On campus, Bully Girl attempted to throw her down long, steep stairs. Fortunately, Ms. Siddiqi’s three friends confronted Bully Girl and sent her scurrying. A heart-warming story but, more importantly, a serious error in defining bullying.


Pitmann opens his pre-game tirade with, “All right ladies, or should I say losers? We’ve barely won any games because … you all suck.” Suck? Ms. Siddiqui justifies his tirade: Our volleyball team was really a sign-up-and-get-incongrats-you-moron type deal, so we had a few bad apples on our team. Moron? Condemned bad apples by whom and why? Near the end of his tirade Pittman declares that … even the disabled kids on the team [are] useless. He pointedly includes disabled students in his overall condemnation of the entire team as useless? Ms. Siddiqui tries to hearten her … slumped friends because … sports should be fun …


During the game, Pitmann screams: WINNING IS EVERYTHING, DUMB ASSES! GET THE BAAAALLLLL! Dumb asses?


Following her article, Ms. Siddiqui promotes No-Name Calling Week, indicating that she AND her team mates learned, via Pitmann, their parents, and each other, that bullying, for school sports’ glory, is acceptable.


School authorities were so desperate for sports’ success that they condoned Pitmann’s verbal abuse? How could parents not be outraged to hear their daughters called dumb asses? Since the entire team dutifully listened to Pitmann’s tirade and endured his verbal abuse during the game, girls courageous enough to protest were obviously “encouraged” by him and the team to pursue other activities.


Hopefully, Ms. Siddiqui AND her teammates, if they have not already, will learn that:


1. bullying is not a negotiable act,


2. Pittman victimized them in the manner that they pretend to deplore, and


3. they had every right to storm the principle’s office en masse, stomping right over Pittman, if necessary, on the way.


And may someone teach their daughters to storm en masse any coach daring to condemn them as dumb asses – whether in practice or during a game.


Mary Ickes




I have very much appreciated the letters and comments this past month or so about the issues brought up by Kim Duckett’s first letter (see the February issue).


I agree with Kim that how we use language is very important; we need to look at what words convey and what ideas or biases they reinforce. As the editor of WNC Woman I try to reach a balance (delicate as it is) between not printing egregious “isms” that might be hateful and hurtful to any person or group; at the same time I want this publication to always be a venue for women (and men) to express their feelings and experiences.


If you read the Letters section over time you will see that the opinions of readers vary pretty wildly about whether I succeed at that balance in terms of what I “allow” in the magazine and what is not there, but should be!


The main vision of WNC Woman, from the time Julie Parker and I started it in 2002 was and still is to be a “hub” that connects women to each other, to their communities, to thoughtful ideas, and stories that inspire us all to reach higher than we thought we could.


Included in that vision is also the belief that all women have something important to say. All your experiences contain the seeds for growth and positive change.


I am grateful to have the chance to be part of this ongoing project; to be able to share the wisdom and humor and even the dissension inherent in a group of strong, courageous, graceful women (and the men who love them).


Thank you for reading, Sandi

Sandi Tomlin-Sutker
Written by Sandi Tomlin-Sutker